In case you had not heard, the Maps app that Apple released in iOS 6 is not meeting everyone’s expectations and there are more than a few people claiming to have intel on Google’s plans for bringing an alternative, third-party app into the mix. We have also learned a lot about why exactly Apple was unable to build an app that competes with the Google-powered experience iPhones users knew and loved from past versions of iOS. Since we (and others) posted that Google already has versions of a Google Maps iOS app ready for Apple (and Eric Schmidt said it was up to them), many have weighed in with info from their own sources:
The Verge: Last night The Verge claimed to have new info on the Maps situation saying Apple’s decision to drop Google a year before its Google Maps contract expired “sent Google scrambling to develop an iOS Google Maps app — an app which both sources say is still incomplete and currently not scheduled to ship for several months…”
NYT: The New York Times is separately claiming Google plans to release a Maps app for iOS by the end of the year. It also noted that Google did not know about Apple’s decision to drop it from maps until the public announcement in June, and it is now “navigating business relationships with Apple that grow more tricky by the day.”
Another complication, according to a person with knowledge of Google Maps: Google would likely prefer to release a maps app that includes 3-D imagery so it is comparable to Apple’s. But Google has 3-D images in Google Earth, which is a separate app with a separate code base from Google Maps, so it would take some time to combine the two.
AllThingsD: AllThingsD reported today that Apple “had no choice but to replace Google Maps” due disagreements over the lack of a voice-controlled, turn-by-turn feature in the iOS Maps app. This is not exactly news, as The Wall Street Journal reported in June that Google not allowing the feature on iOS devices was one of the key reasons for Apple’s decision to release its own app in iOS 6.
DaringFireball: Following the posts above, DaringFireball outlined the three options Apple was facing: No. 1 Continue using Google Maps without turn-by-turn and prominent features; No. 2 Give Google more branding and data in exchange for those features; or No. 3 Build its own app:
We’re supposed to believe Google was surprised that Apple chose #3? Ask yourself this: Were you surprised Apple chose #3? This option came with a now-well-known price: the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the underlying cartographic data. But all three of those options came with a heavy price. #1 meant iOS Maps would spend an entire year falling further behind all of Apple’s competitors. #2 would grant Google — now Apple’s archrival — more branding, more control, and more access to user data on Apple’s platform.
Since the data is all online, Apple can introduce fixes instantly as they’re made, but “it’s not going to change by Friday,” says a product manager. That’s because, in general, the fixes have to be made one at a time, by hand…You can still use Google’s maps — on the Web… (In two weeks, you’ll be able to get Street View this way, too, says Google.)
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